• Home for the Holidays? The Global Implications of a State-Level Cyberattack

    The 4 December 2021 cyberattack on the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) appeared, at first blush to be a local-to-Maryland problem. Maggie Smith writes, however, that “the MDH hack points to a concerning development at the nexus of cybercrime and data supply chains,” as it “shows how fragile data supply chains can be and signals how easy it is to disrupt even the most critical data flows by stopping the upstream flow of data that provides the insights and statistics on which the nations’ decision-makers rely.”  

  • Expanding America’s Marine Highways 

    The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) awarded $12.6 million in grants to nine marine highway projects across the United States, saying the  under the America’s Marine Highway Program (AMHP). DOT says that the funding will help address supply chain disruptions, enhance the movement of goods along the U.S. navigable waterways, and expand existing waterborne freight services.

  • Radicalization Pipelines: How Targeted Advertising on Social Media Drives People to Extremes

    Behind-the-scenes mechanisms feed an item you search for on Google, “like” on social media, or come across while browsing into custom advertising on social media. Those mechanisms are increasingly being used for more nefarious purposes than aggressive advertising. The threat is in how this targeted advertising interacts with today’s extremely divisive political landscape. As a social media researcher, I see how people seeking to radicalize others use targeted advertising to readily move people to extreme views.

  • Weather Disasters in U.S. Dominate Natural Disaster Losses in 2021

    In 2021, natural disasters caused overall losses of $280bn, of which roughly $120bn were insured. Alongside 2005 and 2011, the year 2021 proved to be the second-costliest ever for the insurance sector (record year 2017: $146bn, inflation-adjusted). Overall losses from natural disasters were the fourth-highest to date (record year 2011: $355bn). Hurricane Ida was the year’s costliest natural disaster, with overall losses of $65bn (insured losses of $36bn). In Europe, flash floods after extreme rainfall caused losses of $54bn (€46bn) – the costliest natural disaster on record in Germany. Many of the weather catastrophes fit in with the expected consequences of climate change, making greater loss preparedness and  climate protection a matter of urgency.

  • AT&T, Verizon Agree to Delay 5G Rollout Over Aircraft Safety Concerns

    AT&T and Verizon have agreed to hold off on their 5G rollout amid concerns of problems for aircraft. The move marks a change of heart a day after both companies rejected the government request.

  • Belgium to Shut Down All Existing Nuclear Power Plants

    The Belgian government has said all of the country’s existing nuclear energy plants will close by 2025. However, Belgium will invest in future nuclear technology.

  • Extradited Kremlin-Linked Russian Businessman Charged with Cybercrimes, along with Four Other Russian Suspects

    Russian businessman Vladislav Klyushin was extradited from Switzerland to the United States last week over his involvement in a global scheme to trade on hacked confidential information. One of Klyushin’s codefendants, Ivan Ermakov, a former officer in Russia’s GRU military intelligence, was charged in court in 2018 for his role in hacking and disinformation operations the GRU conducted in 2016 as part of Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential elections.

  • What's the Deal with the Log4Shell Security Nightmare?

    What started out as a Minecraft prank, has now resulted in a 5-alarm security panic as administrators and developers around the world desperately try to fix and patch systems before the cryptocurrency miners, ransomware attackers and nation-state adversaries rush to exploit thousands of software packages. Nicholas Weaver writes that “Not only does the vulnerability affect thousands of programs but the exploitation of this vulnerability is very straightforward.  Attackers are already starting to launch widespread attacks.  Further compounding the problem is the huge diversity of vulnerable systems, so those responsible for defending systems are going to have a very bad Christmas.”

  • Texas Energy Regulators, Gas Industry Try to Reassure the Public That the State’s Power Grid Is Ready for Winter

    As state regulators and the companies that power the grid take steps to avoid another catastrophe like February’s winter storm, climate experts say this winter will likely be milder.

  • Human and Economic Impacts of Covid-19

    The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the behavior of businesses and households.  Those behavioral changes, intensified by government actions like mandatory closures, have had a reverberating impact on the U.S. economy.

  • Competition Between U.S., China Continues in Africa

    Annual U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) flows have been declining since 2010. Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) flow to Africa grew significantly, exceeding that of the United States since 2013.

  • Why the FCC Expelled a Chinese Telecom for National Security Risks

    After months of investigating Chinese state-owned telecommunications companies for national security risks, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Oct. 26 issued an order on one, China Telecom: It can no longer provide telecommunications services in the United States. But Justin Sherman writes that “the move also highlighted that there are many security risks at play with respect to certain foreign telecommunications companies, and mitigating one of those risks still leaves other risks in play.”

  • Can Europe Compete with China's Belt and Road Initiative?

    The European Union this week launched a $340 billion “Global Gateway” fund to boost global infrastructure, which analysts say is aimed at rivaling China’s Belt and Road Initiative. But can the EU’s project compete with Beijing’s billions?

  • “People Should Probably Be Worried”: Texas Hasn’t Done Enough to Prevent Another Winter Blackout, Experts Say

    Natural gas powers the majority of electricity in Texas, especially during winter. Some power companies say the state’s gas system is not ready for another deep freeze.

  • Stacked Deep Learning: Deeper Defense against Cyberattacks

    Internet-based industrial control systems are widely used to monitor and operate factories and critical infrastructure. Moving these systems online has made them cheaper and easier to access, but it has also made them more vulnerable to attack. Stacked deep learning offers a better way to detect hacking into industrial control systems.